Most Musicians don’t like doing wedding gigs. I can’t blame them. There are lots of people to satisfy; the bride, the bride’s parents, the old people, the young people; load in can be tough. Frequently we are looked at as second class citizens posted slightly above janitors or bus boys on the evolutionary food chain.
But last night’s gig was a blast! And this is why I still take them.
First, the bride, Lydia, was a breeze to deal with. From first contact all the way through the negotiation of final contract, to getting a 50% deposit in a timely fashion, to polite requests that I provide PA and a microphone at the last minute in the rain. She was a dream. Her husband, Mike, was totally cool too. They make a great couple and by all accounts will have a long healthy and happy marriage blessed with many children to love.
They wanted to get married outside by Lake Michigan. But Mother Nature was not cooperating. The final vows were taken amid a downpour under a tattered green umbrella festooned with yellow duckies in rain boots. The couple was giggling; the bride was crying tears of joy while guests huddled inside the hall under roof. It will be a wedding everyone will remember.
Afterwards one of the elderly guests presented the tiny, ragged umbrella with yellow duckies on it as a wedding gift to Mike and Lydia with these sage words of hope and love, “Whenever you hit a rough spot in the years to come, open the umbrella and snuggle beneath.”
As always when I am doing a private party, I offer the client the opportunity to request songs ahead of time. At a wedding they get the first dance and all the festivities. This also gives me an idea of what songs they will like that they may not think of. Since it was so hot out, all the dancers needed frequent breaks from the fast tunes.
I saw the chance to play another love ballad. Lydia and Mike loved my choice of Etta James’ ‘At Last’. As the couple joined arm in arm on the dance floor, all of their friends formed a circle around them. It was a moment of pure spontaneous affection for the new bride and groom.
It was a moment I will never forget. It was wedding I will never forget. And that is one of the many reasons why I still taking gigs working as a musician for weddings.
Mr. and Mrs. Mike (L) and Lydia (R) Schmidt.
Chicago pianist Dan Gillogly Glo Glee Music, Inc.
June 7th, 2008